How about this big win, huh? It was truly a roller coaster day for the emotional Texas fan. After getting trashed on ESPN's College Gameday, the Longhorns did their best to change the narrative at DKR on Saturday night. Sure, it was a small step. Kansas State is not the elite team that they have been in the past few years, and the win was not as impressive on paper than it was in person; but do not undervalue this victory. Our Longhorns finally overcame adversity in a football game.
Very Optimistic- Marcus Johnson
What a phenomenal first game for Marcus Johnson. 5 receptions for 70 yards is hardly a quiet introduction, and it couldn't have come at a better time. With wide receiver depth dwindling, Johnson was targeted from the start and made his plays count. His quickness allowed him to make moves and get open on the outside, which was critical for the development of our passing game. Excluding Kendall Sanders 63 yard touchdown grab, Johnson would have been our leading receiver by 39 yards.
He was also an impressive run blocker last night. He sealed off defenders on a majority of the run plays his direction, including a big block that allowed Malcolm Brown to fall into the end zone. Johnson is going to be a factor in our passing game during conference play.
Very Optimistic- Johnathan Gray
When Texas entered full DerpMode at the beginning of the third quarter, we knew the rushing game was going to have to step up, big time. Gray did just that. With his third career 100 yard rushing game, Gray ran all over the Wildcats and was instrumental in securing the Texas win. He rushed for 141 yards on 28 carries with 2 touchdowns. The other two "feature running backs" combined for 10 carries. Gray shouldered the pressure with ease, and was a key component to the victory. Hopefully, he gets some much needed rest because we can't afford to lose another important contributor.
Very Optimistic- No Turnovers
No fumbles. No interceptions. No problems. Texas was flagged 8 times for 74 yards, but the officiating last night was comically atrocious. Playing smart football, with no turnovers, will be essential in the upcoming conference games if we don't have David Ash.
Slightly Optimistic- Case McCoy
My mother has been on my case (ha, pun) all week for being too pessimistic about McCoy's play last week. Let's see you do better, huh? You need to go to church. Okay Mom, here you go, this section is for you.
Case did what he was asked to do last night and managed the game very well. Afterwards, he told LHN's Kaylee Hartung, "All I do is hand the ball off. I'm getting pretty good at handoffs." Don't go calling McCoy a one trick pony just yet, because his bubble screen ball was on point most of the night. He also had some good throws down the field. John Harris wasn't helping him out very much, but Johnson was there on some solid outside throws. McCoy played well and I think he can do it. If we are going to herp-de-derp through conference play, I can't think of anybody better to lead us down the field.
Seriously, though, what is going to happen at quarterback in these upcoming weeks? Considering the fact that we are on pace to permanently damage David Ash for life, we are going to need a new answer to an old problem. At some point, we need somebody else to establish a vertical passing game if we want to be serious Big 12 contenders. I don't know if McCoy has the arm to go into battle with the FCS-demolishing Baylor Bears.
Very Optimistic- Honorary Team Captains
UT's oldest living letterman, John Henderson, served as the honorary captain for the coin toss. Henderson, who is 100 years old, was all smiles standing on the sideline before the opening kickoff. He walked out with to midfield with the team captains and very cheerfully shook the hands of the Wildcat captains. So many "awwws." Watch this video to learn more about the oldest living Texas legend.
Very Optimistic- DKR
It started with the wave.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>They're doing the wave at Texas. And I thought this school was supposed to be for cool kids.</p>— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanWolken/statuses/381605307157184512">September 22, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
This was no ordinary wave. This was a full blown, everybody but the deflated K-State section participated, tidal wave. It made three full circles around the stadium, growing stronger each time. I've seen a lot of waves, this was absolutely the biggest one, ever. Why am I mentioning the wave, you ask? Because, it was the first time that I've felt Texas had a home field advantage all year. It came with seven minutes to play in the third quarter, and from then on, it never seemed like Kansas State had a chance.
The crowd was loud, intense, and involved. My section was enticing a riot about the terrible referees. If you go watch the game replay on LHN, you'll notice that after the targeting call, the refs never spoke again without being boo-ed. Even, if the call was going our way, the fans were not having it. The excitement was translating into success on the field. Our players developed an attitude that we haven't seen in a while. On Dalton Santos' game ending fumble recovery, three flags were thrown for unsportsmanlike conduct and our entire bench was jumping around on the field. It was as if this team had received a heart transplant.
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/m9qm8JROXWc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Mack Brown needs to take a note from the "Mark Richt momentum playbook" so we can see this kind of intensity every week, especially against OU.
So yes, Kansas State is not the best team in the Big 12, but leave us alone. The last time we beat the Wildcats, I was a shy fifth grader about to get braces. Sure, it's weird to celebrate a game that we would have expected to win only a few weeks ago. Yes, this is absolutely a sign of the times. Correct, our euphoric reaction is directly correlated to our undeniably low expectations of this football team. But, whatever. A win is a win, and last night's "breaking of the purple wizard curse" could not have come sooner.